September 14, 2020
September 15-October 15 is nationally recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month. What is the significance of this celebration and who does it represent? Diversity in life and in business is something that we value at Coplex, and we’re here to lift up the voices of those who make a difference in our community.
While this recognition is labeled as Hispanic heritage, we’d like to point out the difference between Hispanic and Latino/Latinx, and the history behind this celebration in America. Generally, the terms Hispanic and Latino/Latinx are often used interchangeably, however, the definitions have changed over the years.
Hispanic is tied to language and refers to people who speak Spanish and/or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino/Latinx embodies people who are from or descended from people from Latin America. For example, people from Brazil would not be considered Hispanic because they dominantly speak Portuguese, not Spanish.
About 4.4 million Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. contribute more than $700 billion to the economy annually.
So, if this is Hispanic Heritage Month, what does that mean for the Latinx community? Starting in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan signed this bill into law, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally meant to embody both Hispanic and Latinx people alike, but perhaps it’s time for a rebrand in 2020, going beyond celebration, and focusing on including the groups the term Hispanic leaves behind.
Latinx businesses are growing at a rapid pace in the U.S., and Latinx leaders are the faces of some of the nation’s top businesses. Some notable Latinx and Hispanic business leaders include (and is not limited to):
That list only scratches the surface of the innovation and leadership the Latinx and Hispanic community has brought to the business world. Diversity companies are more competitive and capture a greater share of the consumer market, not to mention the economic boost that happens as a result of including diverse voices in the business world.
The Latinx and Hispanic community is a powerful, innovative force—especially in the United States. According to the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, about 4.4 million Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. contribute more than $700 billion to the economy annually. While Latinx and Hispanic businesses are growing and thriving, there are obstacles that can prevent further success or slow it’s progression. This community is still subject to horrible acts of discrimination, people of color tend to earn less than their white counterparts, which can impact credit scores, making it harder to be approved for a loan or line of credit.
By 2050, minorities will account for 54% of the population. If we don’t nourish and uplift these individuals and their innovative ideas, our economy will inevitably suffer.
Diversity is the foundation for change, and if we put our time, money, and hearts with the communities working to create a better future, we will be able to accomplish amazing things.
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a student looking to break into the tech world, a seasoned executive, or an ally looking to get involved, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help you on your journey.
From our own network of talented entrepreneurs, we want to highlight a special Coplex Venture: Cala Lending. Cala Lending is an online platform that helps small business owners get access to the financial tools they need. Founder Vincenzo Alaimo is an experienced executive and business owner from Miami, FL. Vincenzo has over 10 years of experience in investment and entrepreneurial endeavors. His passion for small business is what inspired him to change the way lenders and underserved business owners interact with each other.
His passion for the Latino community is what makes Cala Lending unique: Their lending marketplace helps small business owners quickly secure loans using their native language and quick translations to avoid complicated paperwork—unlike traditional banking options. We’re proud to have the Cala Lending team with Coplex.
“You are not lucky to be here. The world needs your perspective. They are lucky to have you.”
— Antonio Tijerino
A world without diversity is a world without color, a world without life. Business thrives when new ideas and new perspectives are integrated, and that can only happen when we open our minds and hearts to the people around us. At Coplex, we’re celebrating diverse voices not just this month, but every month. We believe a better future can be made possible when everyone has a seat at the table.
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